Pondering The Pinnacles

When you wander through them it’s like being in some alien world, but the even origins of The Pinnacles can’t be easily explained even though they are very down to earth.

The Pinnacles Desert is the main reason for visiting Nambung National Park near the small West Australian town of Cervantes, which is part of the region called the Coral Coast.

These Pinnacles are thousands of limestone spikes and spires which suddenly erupt from the sandy ground.  They are the remains of seashells which were deposited on the seabed millions of years ago, and originally they would have formed large dunes.  There is some dispute as to the reasons why these Pinnacles exist in such abundance in this particular place, but they were probably formed by tree roots penetrating the tough soil and then, after several millennia, turning into quartz, and being tough enough to remain above the surface after the softer soils had been weathered away.

Whatever the reason for their being, The Pinnacles are certainly impressive.  From a distance they don’t look so big, but when you actually wander among them some do tower of you.    

Viewed from a distance, The Pinnacles do look like an alien landscape, and even when you are in their midst it can be quite eerie as these towering sentinels just seem to be so strange.

These Pinnacles were virtually unknown before the 1960s, and even after they were discovered The Pinnacles were rarely visited because the road in was so rugged.

Nowadays, the road in is much better, in fact there is now a new coastal road, the Indian Ocean Drive, which runs from Lancelin to Cervantes making the trip much easier. If you do use the new road, Nambung National Park is about a two and a half hour drive from Perth.

There is a very good interactive centre and shop at the entrance of The Pinnacles now, which is worth visiting prior to entering the area so that you have some understanding as to the origins of The Pinnacles.

Providing your vehicle is not too big you can take it into The Pinnacles Desert to take the scenic drive of several kilometers around the monoliths.  If you are towing a caravan you will need to leave your vehicles in the car park and walk. Inside, there are plenty of places to pull over where you can leave your vehicle to investigate various outcrops by foot. There is a great lookout that has been constructed and which affords you a better overall view of the area.

In fact from here you can see the ruggedness of the Pinnacles and the surrounding bushland disappearing down to the coast to the Indian Ocean beyond.

Western Australia has many areas of very interesting geological formations, but most are found in remote areas that take a lot of effort to reach.  One of the benefits of visiting The Pinnacles Desert and Nambung National Park is that they are easily reachable from Perth.  They are worthy of a day trip, or as an interesting diversion on the way to the North.

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